The ‘eating my feelings’ category

Cleaning Up in Various Ways

April 17th, 2018

I’ve been on a self-propelled eating plan for over four weeks. I haven’t been eating flour, sugar, sweeteners, or juice. I also haven’t been drinking alcohol.

It began as a way to lose weight. I currently weigh as much as I did right after giving birth over three years ago (which is to say, a lot). My clothes don’t fit. No clothes fit. When you are overweight, clothes don’t fit, no matter what size clothes you buy. It’s uncomfortable to be overweight, and your body parts are constantly threatening to fail. 

Periodically I go through a motivated phase where I decide to get healthier / clean it up / prove to myself that I have an iota of self-discipline left.

A while after giving birth, I tried a few things. The Whole 30 is nice and all, but I spent hundreds on groceries and did not lose one single pound. It took over my life and gave me little in return. I pretty much never wanted to see an egg again when it was over.

I also did an intense “cleanse” (a word I always use in quotes) that a network-marketing-hypnotized friend foisted on me. I didn’t spend money on food for that one, but did spend hundreds on supplements and powders and shakes made of dubious things. I lost 11 pounds in a week!!! And gained back like 15. I’m not really a fan of eating powders instead of whole foods, so this one was a bust for me all around.

Cut to now. I have a family beach vacation planned in June. So that’s how I got here, to Health Kick 2018 (Take 1). But I still have high-energy toddlers and a very full full-time freelance writing job, so this time, I decided to be realistic. 

I have a client in San Francisco who runs a program called “Curb Your Cravings” through her company Happy Belly Health. Through working with her on her materials for the programs she runs, my own ideas about healthy eating were reinforced. She touts a progressive lifestyle change versus a Die-with-a-T. In the beginning, you don’t even have to limit the volume of food you eat. Just shift to eating whole grains, quality proteins, lots of veggies, and particularly greens — and cut out the quick carbs and empty calories that alcohol brings.

After a winter on the cold, dark East Coast, I had reverted to some major comfort-food habits. I was eating toast with honey nearly every day, drinking a big glass of OJ in the morning, and indulging in all sorts of sweet treats that my phenomenal baker of a mother would whip up on a regular basis. When you have toddlers, it’s also pretty easy to start eating pizza, pasta, sandwiches, and tacos for basically every meal. And, er, the wine. That was a whole thing.

It was time to make a shift, so using Shanti’s guidelines as a loose plan, I dove in. I dropped the quick carbs and simple sugars and dug into the bulk grains I already had in my cabinet. And I started obsessing over kale and other greens like a proper bourgie hippie. I did not stop drinking my coffee with cream or eating cheese here and there. I’m not a psychopath.

Anyway, four weeks in, I have not lost much weight. Maybe a pound? Mercifully, our scale broke right after I began this odyssey. We bought a new one, but I have no idea how it calibrates to the old one.

Raw almonds sauteed in a cast-iron skillet with EVOO, fresh rosemary, and sea salt

However, I feel better. Way better. Getting up in the morning has become easier, and my body feels stronger. I still haven’t solved the mystery of getting a little exercise here and there (see my Instagram feed for periodic reports on how laughable my attempts do to yoga with/around my kids are going). But I have hope for that, someday. 

The other thing about cleaning up your eating is that it helps you focus on cleaning up your self-care in other ways as well. I’ve been watching less TV (except Wild Wild Country, holy shit have you guys seen that?!), reading more (currently reading Judas by Amos Oz), and dealing with some stuff I have been putting off for ever. I got off Facebook (fucking finally) and even started using decent skincare products (Ursa Major, love).

I feel clearer, less overwhelmed, more capable. Not skinnier, but definitely better.

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